Monday, July 11, 2016

Some 2016 Summer videos at DoubleHP / New Hope Horse Shelter

here are links to videos that Britt Jacobsen put together for us and for her Journalism class at Augustana College.  Thanks Britt!

And here is a link to KDLT's Derby Day story they did about us with HotShot as the movie star.

For daily / weekly news from DoubleHP, please join us on facebook.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Horsemanship To Live By. Chapter 2 - Willpower

Is willpower our greatest strength? Maybe. It really is what gets us going and keeps us going. Surely it is one of our greatest strengths.
Some believe that we only have so much willpower to use each day and, when it’s gone it’s gone.

Another belief is that if we have to spend a lot of time, effort, and emotions just trying to control our tempers or just trying to control everything because we feel the need to be in control of everything and everyone all of time in general, we simply don’t have any willpower left to do the things we really want to do.  Because we use it all up on the issue of control.
Some good news: Many researchers also believe that we can get more willpower! That it’s like a muscle, kind of, and we can strengthen it!

We need willpower to keep our promises and our new year's resolutions, to quit smoking, to lose weight, to beat our addictions, to finish a project or program or class, to get up and make it to work and school on time, to take care of ourselves and our family and garden and animals, to accomplish, to improve, to forget, to remember, to forgive, to confront, to avoid, to say something and to resist saying other things, to try, and try again.  We need willpower for self-control, self-discipline, self-motivation, and self-improvement. To do all of the things we want to do, we need willpower.  Yes, surely willpower is one of our greatest strengths. 
In our horsemanship program, we often remind each other that “it’s not just going to happen all by itself; it’s up to us to make sure it does happen."  We have to really try and want it to happen, we learn to visualize and focus.  And once we get going, as we get more advanced in our horsemanship program, we begin to ask ourselves more often, “how little does it take?”   How little does it take to ask my horse to back away from me, for example?  Well, at first it might take quite a bit.  But as we go along, it takes less and less and, before long, it hardly takes anything at all!  In fact, we are able to ask our horses to back away from us without anyone else really seeing us do it.  That’s some pretty amazing communication! And the less effort it takes, the more willpower we have left to do other things!

Willpower is also what helps us ride and guide our horses here and there, right and left, over the jump, between the cones, wherever we want to go, without doing much at all except, as lightly as possible, communicating with our partner, our horse. Those who stick with our horsemanship program are able to ride our horses without even using the reins. Nothing wrong with reins, they are really nice to have and we almost always have them on our horses when we ride; but we need to make sure we do not become dependent on reins.  If we never  learn to ride with loose reins, we never really learn to ride very well.  Because if we are dependent on our reins for riding, we are using all of our willpower to hold on tight, to control.  Reins are not what balance us or keep us from falling off. We can stop our horses without reins, we can steer them without reins; but developing this relationship and trust with a horse does take dedication and consistency, and we have to really want to learn how to do it. It's not just going to happen and, yes, it takes a lot of willpower!  As we strengthen our ability to visualize, focus and be aware of every little step, turn, transition, thought, etc., we also strengthen our willpower; and we also strengthen our communication, trust, and relationship with our horses.
In our horsemanship program, there are two main kinds of willpower. One is the stuff we need to do anything in life. Make and keep a schedule, be on time, write down important info, use our resources, practice at home, watch training videos and read, remember the phases and sequences, know when to quit, have plans and goals but be ready to modify them and have realistic timeframes.  Just do it; that kind of willpower.  Review everything we discussed in the previous chapter about Awareness. Be aware of everything and everyone, including our own stuff.  How is my physical, emotional, and mental fitness? How am I, and how do I seem? Being aware of all of that, checking in with myself often, takes a lot of willpower.  But the more I practice those things -- being aware, checking in with myself, etc., --  the more natural it becomes  and the less willpower it requires; thus, freeing up more willpower to advance to other levels and activities. The other type of willpower we practice and develop in our horsemanship program is more directly with our horses.   We can move our horses around just on our willpower alone, without physically touching, pushing or pulling our horses. This type of willpower is more about a mental and emotional connection with a horse.  We can become so consistent and clear in our communication with our horses that we (humans and horses) begin to know what each other is thinking and doing and asking, without anyone else really seeing the communication going on.  That’s a really special kind of willpower that you will share with the horses here in our program, if you stick with it.

Ok, so, how can our horses help us strengthen our willpower?
They do it by just being themselves. Because they have way more willpower than we can even imagine.  They have way more awareness and way more willpower than we do.  But as we spend time with them, do things with them, enjoy their company, understand them just a little bit more each day, we can learn from them. We can strengthen our awareness and our willpower.  With the horses as our teachers.

To give you an idea of just how much willpower horses have, here are some true stories about some of the horses I have rescued.  Some of them I knew for only a few hours, some of them I have known for years, some of them are in heaven, some of them are here with us and you can meet them and learn from them in our horsemanship program. 

Jasmine's story.
We rescued Jasmine's herd from starvation when Jasmine was 11. She had her yearling baby by her side and was about to give birth to another baby.

Only problem -- Jasmine had a broken hip that had never been treated, she was emaciated, dehydrated, and lame due to no hoof care; and she had a respiratory problem.  We followed our vet's orders and, 3 weeks after her rescue, Jasmine presented to us her new baby boy.

 Jasmine gained weight and strength and was a very good mommy, considering she had a broken hip and couldn't really teach her baby everything she wanted to.
 After her baby was weaned, Jasmine went and lived at a really nice retirement home.  But soon her other hip gave out, probably from having to work double hard since the one side was broken.  It was just too hard for Jasmine to get around anymore, and we had our veterinarian administer humane euthanasia.  It is amazing that Jasmine survived her starvation, it is amazing that her new foal was born healthy, it is amazing that Jasmine stayed strong until her baby was weaned, and then she let us know that life was really getting hard for her.  Staying alive and strong for her babies took a lot of willpower.  Her babies, Minerva and Hero, live here with us and are a part of our horsemanship program.

Aspen's Story.

I met Aspen nine or more days after State and County law enforcement had already met him. When I met him, he looked like this:
I knew in 3 seconds he was still alive, and I could not understand how our humane society, sheriff, and state vet could have known about him and left him like this.  I don’t know how long he had been like this. This is how he was when I met him; a "humane" officer had called me and asked if I could bring some hay, as though that would help. (I consider this to be an extreme example of long-term ignorance, for this "humane" officer had held that title for many years, yet had never bothered to learn anything about basic horse health.  After all of those years, it can no longer be considered ignorance. At that point it is serious irresponsibility and possibly even neglect! ) So, when I saw Aspen like this I immediately called our veterinarian to come, and our veterinarian immediately called the proper agencies to receive permission to humanely euthanize poor Aspen.  Why did he have to suffer for this long, for this many days.  Because of ignorance, irresponsibility, neglect, lack of willpower by all of the people in charge.  All of the agencies who were supposed to know and care about Aspen, about animals in our county and state, DID know about him. But they did not care. They could not have cared. They did not have any willpower to do what should have been done. They certainly did not do what was humane.  And even though they were not Aspen's owners, they were just as responsible for Aspen's continued suffering.  Because they had no willpower, no care to do what was right. How could Aspen still be alive after all of that time and suffering? This was in a very cold South Dakota winter, and the horses had no food or water.  Aspen had been put in this falling-down building and left there with garbage, just like garbage.  There were other dead baby horses out in the snow, and another one in this building.  And remember, law enforcement and our humane society had known about this situation for at least nine days. And still, Aspen lay here like this, suffering so. How could he still be alive?  Because of his willpower! This is how much willpower horses are capable of.  I think Aspen was waiting for his real horse rescuer to arrive, so he could know what kindness and compassion felt like. So he could know that for sure, kindness and compassion really do exist; and some humans really are capable of it.  So he could know that, even though it was too late to be made healthy, it was not too late to be loved. It was not too late to receive a name, a pillow, a blanket, and the humane act of our veterinarian to bring him peace. It was not too late for Aspen to know that he mattered. And that his story would be told.  And so here I am telling Aspen's story yet again.  Every time I tell this story it is with the hope that it brings great awareness to our community.  I guess, not just awareness but also compassion, prevention, and the will -- the willpower -- to do what is good and right.
Aspen's story is awfully sad; I know it is.  But if you  decide to get involved with a horse rescue organization such as ours, you will hear some stories like these.  We aren't like other horse places.  There are many good barns around here -- boarding facilities, training facilities, breeding facilities, places you can go for riding lessons -- you can avoid the rescue, sanctuary, shelter, animal welfare part if you want to.  But if you are in our horsemanship program, sometimes the rescue stories come up.  The best thing to do really is to become aware of these stories and learn from them. Get a feel for this strong willpower and awareness that horses have. And become aware of how it is possible to learn from them. 

Lily's Story.

While I only knew Aspen for an hour or so, I have known Lily for 8 years now!

Lily and one other horse were put out in a field during a cold South Dakota winter with no food, no water, no shelter. Lily's friend died. County officials said the other horse had been lying there dead for some time before Lily was noticed.  What willpower did that take for Lily!  To keep waiting and hoping while she was freezing and starving, standing there by her dead friend, her only friend. When we rescued Lily she had a body condition score of 1 (there is nothing lower, only death). She was loaded with worms, had received no hoof care, and her halter was growing into her head.  She had nothing left but willpower. That is how she survived.  Her recovery, growth, and development  was slow.  A few months after her rescue we did put her up for adoption, but no one wanted Lily. She had a long way to go in her recovery, her future was too unpredictable, we could not guarantee that she would someday be a riding horse or even a healthy horse.  So she came to live here. Unlike many of our "rescues," Lily did recover and grow and has become an excellent horsemanship partner here. We never want her to lose her willpower, her spirit, her dignity, her quirkiness, her individuality. Lily is a survivor.  I learn something from her every single day.


Saint Nick's story.

Sometimes I still can't believe that Saint Nick's story is true. His owners left him in a road ditch near our shelter, in the middle of a cold South Dakota winter. They tied him up there to a fence in the ditch. And that's where he spent that night. Alone, cold, frightened, emaciated, injured, on the Eve of Christmas Eve. A neighbor found him the next morning and brought him to us, and our veterinarian met us at the clinic, on Christmas Eve Day.  A horse does not get in this emaciated condition overnight.  What willpower these horses have, to survive for so long. I really do believe that most of them try to hold on for as long as they can, believing that a true rescuer will come along so they can know what love feels like, before they let themselves go.  In Saint Nick's case, we might have helped him get through his starvation; but his leg injuries were too severe and he could not be saved. You see, his owners had transported him in a trailer that had holes in the floor, and Saint Nick's leg(s) were dragging through the floor of the trailer as the trailer  was moving. And still, he wanted to believe in humans. He was a perfect gentleman for us and as the Vet worked on his legs.

He still believed in humans.  That they are capable of goodness. What willpower these horses have! Willpower to survive, willpower to please us and trust us, and willpower to forgive.  Surely we can learn a lot from them.  


Thursday, February 11, 2016

DoubleHP's 2016 natural horsemanship program - "Horsemanship To Live By"

We already have several of last year's horsemanship participants promising to return this spring and advance through their Levels. (We follow Parelli Levels here.)  So, we will only have time/room for a few new participants this year.  As soon as the temps. get consistently warmer, like in the high 30s or so, we'll be ready for you! If interested, call Darci 359-0961 or email

Here's some info. about our program:

Help to sponsor one of our rescued horses, and we'll help you get started or advance in your horsemanship journey. Our horsemanship program is so much more than just riding lessons.
Our horsemanship program is, of course, a natural horsemanship program to help you gain and advance your horse knowledge and skills, both riding and non-riding activities.
But it is also a program for personal & professional growth, learning, development, and self-improvement.
"If you can learn to be this way around horses, you can learn to be this way around humans."
What way is this?
The way the horses will teach you, in our horsemanship program.
The way we would like to be and the way we would like to seem -- to be safe, happy and successful not only in our horsemanship program but also in other parts of our life.
If you were to choose one word for the way you want to be; the way you want to seem to others; the way you would be to help you get along in life, in all situations and all parts of your life; the way you would be to help you always move toward being safe, happy, and successful; the way you would try to be most of the time; the way you would keep getting better and better at as you go along, what might that ONE WORD be?
Obviously there are many correct answers to this question.  But let's choose one; let's choose AWARE.  Awareness, Willpower, Assertiveness, Rhythm, and Energy.
First, let's think about Awareness:
Awareness. Think of all it can be, all it can mean! If you are aware, you might also be resourceful, alert, sharp, responsible, educated, quick to notice, perceptive, ready, prepared, focused . . . . . Who doesn't want to be that!
If you are not aware, you might be ignorant. And contrary to popular belief that  "ignorance is bliss," "long-term ignorance is nothing but irresponsible."  Who wants to be irresponsible! Who wants to be ignorant!
To be aware is to be responsible. It probably is our responsibility to be aware of laws, rules, schedules, appointments, decisions, consequences, etc.  It's not possible to be aware of everything all at once or all of the time but, surely, awareness is one of those things we can continue to develop. We can develop greater awareness throughout our lives! And the horses in our horsemanship program can get us started!
One of the things the horses in our horsemanship program teach us is how to become more aware of our surroundings. What is going on around us? Who else and what else is near us? What are they doing? What speeds and distances are involved? Are we working toward a group goal or are we all doing your own individual things? How can we make sure we don't collide with someone or something? Can we keep track of those other people, horses, and things without losing our big picture? Where do we want to go? How does our path look?
If we practice, we can become more aware that something is about to happen, instead of that it already DID happen!
We can become more aware of how we are, how we seem to others, both humans and horses. Do I seem nervous? confident? angry? anxious? relaxed? aggressive? wimpy? tired? impatient?  And what about the other people and horses in our space? How do they seem? We can become more aware of that, too! Do they seem combative? overly competitive? defensive? offensive? friendly? happy? afraid? cooperative? confident? competent? pushy? And are THEY aware? Are THEY aware of THEIR surroundings? of me? Might one of them emotionally or physically collide with me?
We can become more aware of how it's all going. Am I still connected to my plan, goal, or responsibility? Are my actions effective? my responses appropriate? my suggestions clear?
We can become more aware of every single step, every single turn, every single pause or hesitation, every single thought or idea, every single try, every single transition. We can become more aware of how many times or how long we have been doing the same thing with no success, no improvement, no reward, no change, no fun! We can become more aware that something might be heading toward confusion, frustration, boredom and, possibly, out-of-control danger; and we can become more aware of how to make those situations better instead of worse. We can become more aware of the very moment we start to wonder if we are feeling like we might be getting stuck; way before we are, indeed, Stuck! Way before it's too late!
We can become more aware of when it's time to try something new and, yes, when it's time to quit (probably not quit forever, but certainly quit for that session, that activity, or that day)!
We can also become more aware of the resources available to us.  And use those resources!  In horsemanship, for example, any day we DON'T have to reinvent the wheel is a good day!  That doesn't mean we shouldn't inject some of our own creativity, style, and flair.  It just means that there are certain things that all great, true horsemen agree on. And we should use them as our guidelines. A person who claims to know everything about horses is, actually, a person who knows very little about horses. We can never know everything about  horses. The best we can do is learn what the great, true horsemen have already learned and documented for us, and continue to learn more every single day. The best, true horsemen are proud to say that they, too, have been students of other great, true horsemen. Activities, ideas, tools, methods, techniques, sequences, etc., all can vary. But the PRINCIPLES remain the same. It is the principles that serve as our guidelines. 
It is important to be aware that horsemanship and horsemen are terms that are accepted by us. A woman can be a great horseman. Or she can be a great horsewoman or even a great horseperson.  But there is nothing negative or sexist about using the word horseman.  In our horsemanship program, we don't try to make things more complicated; we try to make them more consistent and clear. We try to remember what's really important and what's really not.
We can become more aware of how we are and how we seem by doing more frequent self-checks, self-evaluations. We want to be aware of how we are and how we seem when confronted with conflicts and inappropriate, overly-competitive behaviors.  In our horsemanship program, we don't try to beat or conquer or defeat or destroy anyone, not horses and not humans. It's not like that. It's not a battle. It's more like a self-improvement program, with the help of a very special partner -- the Horse.
In our horsemanship program, we learn to be very aware of our own personal "valuables," things like safety, wellbeing, happiness, responsibilities, and goals. And we become more aware of how well we are taking care of these valuables, our own personal valuables, by learning how to do frequent self-checks, by being aware of how we are and how we seem.
As we become more aware of our surroundings, we are able to sense emotional, mental and physical distractions and obstacles from greater distances; so we can then become aware sooner of the best path to take.
As we further develop our new and improved awareness, we are able to easily identify someone who is just starting out in the search for greater awareness; and we will be aware of the best way to keep our personal "valuables" safe and away from possible collision, without having thoughts of defeating or insulting the less-aware person. This is not a competition and not a conflict. It is a self-improvement program. It just happens to be a self-improvement program that teaches us both self-awareness and excellent horsemanship skills at the same time.
In our horsemanship program, we become more aware of time and timing, priorities and responsibilities, realistic plans and schedules, body language, and various styles of teaching, learning, and communicating.
"In our horsemanship program we become aware that, if we can learn to be this way around horses, we can learn to be this way around humans."
And that (Awareness) is only the first part of being AWARE in our horsemanship program!  We haven't even begun to discuss the other parts: Willpower, Assertiveness, Rhythm, and Energy. Stay tuned!

Our hours are
Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., by appointment.
359-0961. thanks.

We will help you through various levels of horsemanship, at your own pace. We have both riding and non-riding activities.
Ideally you would be able to schedule two or three 2-hour sessions each week, but we realize some people will need to schedule fewer sessions and some people may be able to schedule more sessions each week. How much supervised or unsupervised time you have with your horse here will depend on your level of horsemanship. Your need for supervision should decrease as your horsemanship level increases.
Here’s a promise: We have promised these very special horses a forever home here. They are not available for adoption, so if you fall in love…. Correction: WHEN you fall in love with our horses, you don’t have to worry about saying goodbye to them. These horses live here. This is their home.

Your sponsorship money goes to Horse Help Providers, Inc. (DoubleHP), the 501c3 nonprofit organization that rescued these horses and is responsible for their care. Your sponsorship money helps to feed and care for these rescued horses. Not a penny goes to a person. It all goes to the horses.
For many reasons, including consistency for horses and humans, we follow a specific horsemanship program that is strongly influenced by Parelli Natural Horsemanship Levels. Though we do not have a permanent Parelli instructor here, Bryna Helle (Parelli Professional, Two Star Instructor) from the Twin Cities area stays with us every now and then.

for more info, call 359-0961 or email
No Previous Horse Experience Required.
Our Horses will show you
everything you need to know.
About Life.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Unbridled Beauties of DoubleHP 2016 calendar available in our Zazzle store

our 2016 calendar is available. in 3 different sizes. purse size, standard, and huge. Zazzle has some sales closer to xmas, sometimes 50% off.  so you might want to keep track of that. but don't wait too long to order them. they are beautiful. you can see what each page/month/feature photo looks like from this link.  Some of our sanctuary horses with some of their volunteers, fundraisers, and sponsors.

Shadow and Bella are on the front cover again.

Monday, October 26, 2015

thanks Joann for your memorial donation

Thank you Joann for your memorial donation in honor of your sisters Doris Ellen Nurre and Patricia Dieterich. Love, from your friends, Shadow and Bella.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Christina learning how to trim and rasp hooves

More than one area professional farrier has told us that we have quite a shortage of professional farriers in our area. So, we are learning to do some of it ourselves. Christina is rasping Spirit every 7-10 days, trying to get rid of the cracks in his hooves that may be caused from his hooves "flaring."
Doesn't look too stressful for Spirit, does it!

of course, back hooves too!

Monday, July 20, 2015

need some new fly masks and fly boots for our rescued horses

Could someone please buy us some new fly masks and fly boots. These things are getting really old!
Donations to DoubleHP, 25337 470 Ave, Crooks SD  57020
We are 501c3 as Horse Help Providers, Inc.